A smorgasbord of coaching reminders


What really is good coaching?
People often ask me this and why it’s so effective. I heard a vivid quote the other day, I just had to share with you,

“Good coaching is helping people to get out of their own way.”

That’s astute don’t you think?

The responsibility lies with the coachee
When my son Euan was younger, he played for a junior rugby team and I helped to coach them alongside other keen and enthusiastic dads.

We were a reasonable team, not brilliant; I think the quality of the coaches was also in question. But we sought ways to improve. Serendipity provided the answer. Let me explain.

At the club’s annual dinner, we were donated a rugby ball from Gloucester Rugby’s 2005 winning team. An actual match ball used by top players. You know; felt, passed and caught by real players. The ball went into the auction as the top prize.

Let me fast-forward the story. We won the ball in the auction.

Workplace coaching is all about flexibility and it’s knowing what part of the pendulum to be on for any given moment, is the true skill

I thought that’s it, at last we can play like winners, so I introduced the ball at our next training session and used it for the match against Kidderminster.

Did the ball make a difference? Not a bit. We lost handsomely.

A ball is not going to make any difference. Responsibility for performance lies with the players and the coaching team, we hadn’t improved and a new ball wasn’t going to make any transformation.

In the same way, responsibility in coaching lies with the coachee not the coach.

Do You Push or Pull in Coaching?
A good coach will move along the spectrum and be well paid if they do.

The spectrum is left to right – push and pull.


To push as a coach, you give but to pull, you encourage the actions to come from the client. Workplace coaching is all about flexibility and it’s knowing what part of the pendulum to be on for any given moment, is the true skill.

To help you, here’s the stages of the pendulum with the intervention to use.

The trick is to move along the spectrum gradually putting the responsibility for actions to the client.

Remember to Look for Leakage when Coaching
I read at the weekend about the famous rivalry between Boris Becker and Andre Agassi in the world of championship tennis. Agassi continually lost to Becker until he figured out his poker face. His body language “tell” for his serve.

Agassi learnt that when Becker stuck his tongue out to the left, he was going to serve wide, when his tongue was central, the serve went straight. This enable Agassi to win a long series of victories against Becker even though he deliberately lost serves to alleviate suspicion.

There’s a “tell” for everything with humans. Learn to read your customer’s physiology and you’ll be able to read minds. Here’s some reminders:

Peripheral vision. Rather than use your foveal vision which involves focusing on one spot, practice peripheral which allows you to gaze at the whole picture. That way you’ll pick up all the signals.

Calibrate normal. When you meet your customer or coachee, take a good look at their “normal” so when they “leak” you might spot an issue or problem that you can probe.

Body language. Re-learn the body signals. There’s some great work on this all over the internet. Google a guy called Alan Pease, he’s a master on the topic and rib ticklingly funny too.

Only upon his retirement in 1999 did Agassi confess. Naughty, but his skill earned him a lot of money. Remember, she with the greatest flexibility of behaviour, is the winner.

7 essential coaching questions
If you’ve ever wanted to capture some questions on a piece of paper to use during a coaching session, well here’s 7 essential ones:

  1. “What’s on your mind?”
  2. “What’re you taking away so far?”
  3. “What’s been most useful for you here?”
  4. “What’s the gold nugget here?”
  5. “What’s the first domino?”
  6. “And what else?”
  7. “Go on”

Worth keeping a note of in any coaching situation, these are worth their weight in gold.

10 Advanced coaching tips
Only use these if you wish to take your coaching to the next level.

  1. Coaches get paid well to move effortlessly across the pull – push spectrum and know when to do so with coaching clients. Pull uses questions and push means giving ideas and guidance.
  2. Don’t get too “hung up” about clients having all the answers – that’s nonsense. A good coach will have plenty of experience of the job involved and can come out of coaching mode to give ideas and suggestions. Just make sure your client knows you have moved outside of coaching temporarily to proffer proposals.
  3. If you give an idea to the client, suggest it’s just that and can be easily ignored if the client prefers. Some clients feel obliged to accept your offer especially if you hold rank over them.
  4. When your client gives you some actions they’re going to carry out, test that they are not just saying these to keep you happy especially if you hold rank. Try using the classic “out of 10, how likely are you to do that?”
  5. Calibrate your client immediately. Clock their default posture, facial expressions, eye contact, skin colour and voice tempo. Keep an eye out for any physiology “leakage” i.e. when you spot a change in the photo you took at calibration stage.
  6. Challenge any leakage that you see “I’ve noticed you seem a little uncomfortable?”
  7. If you’re using GROW and are exploring the Reality stage, try and dig a little deeper to assess their motivation and values around the goal not just tangible factors. Much of people’s motivation is down to their values and inner drive.
  8. In GROW, you may want to get to options quickly, but before you do so, explore any strategy behind the options to get a bigger picture. Chunk up any options “what’s that idea part of?”
  9. If you’re in a busy environment such as a hotel reception area, try to cloak the two of you and block out all sounds and distractions. Put any wall behind you to prevent movement distracting your client.

Have a rescue question or two up your sleeve. “where are you now?” or “what’s your next step” or “what’s on your mind right


About Author

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Paul Archer is an Online Sales Trainer, Speaker and Conference Host. He’d be happy to assist you in moving your workshops online during this challenging period. Email him on paul@paularcher.com or LinkIn with him at www.paularcher.uk The world of sales development has changed, many have missed this and boldly go on to run courses in the old-fashioned way. You want to develop your people – professional advisers, salespeople, coaches - and know there is a better way. He can help you. Think about music. I mean the music industry. In 2000 music became free, illegally at first with Napster, downloads became cheap as chips and streaming now cost $10 a month. In the same way, traditional self-development is now free. Everything is available online. Music artists and bands now make their money performing live. The live experience is what fans will pay money for. Recorded music is merely to create demand for the live experience. He brings his 35+ years of sales expertise and experience to you in two ways: Online, on-demand, just in time. He doesn’t run “just in case” training courses, they’re a thing of the past. Development should be “just in time”. Curated video, live videocasts and webinars, podcasts — books, articles and blog posts delivered via his Learning Platforms, YouTube or your in-house systems. Live. He can bring his expertise to your teams in live sessions, but these are rare now and need to be exceptional events. Conferences, seminars and events, he can educate, entertain them with my unique speaking style that has been enjoyed by thousands of sale people and advisers across the globe. Forty-five minutes, 2 hours, maybe a day – you choose. You figured there was a better way to develop your sales teams, you are right, and now you may want to make contact with him so you can talk further. You can Linkin with him at www.paularcher.uk, and he’ll start a conversation or head to his YouTube Channel for more at www.paularcher.tv email him at paul@paularcher.com or phone him on +44 7702 341769, and where ever you are in the world he’d love to hear from you. Paul is a prolific writer and blogger – maintaining three blogs, with www.paularcher.com attracting thousands of hits from all over the world. He has published eight books. His latest tome "Pocketbook of Presentation Skills” was released in January 2020 and is available from Amazon. The third edition of his book “Train the Trainer of the 21st Century” is also available from Amazon.

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